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Sep 14

Moto e5 Supra Cricket Wireless Smartphone Review
Moto e5 Supra Cricket Wireless Smartphone Review

Cricket, an AT&T MVNO prepaid cell carrier, typically gets a few budget priced smartphones a year from the major worldwide manufacturers. This year, Cricket received a better than usual Motorola e5 Supra, which according to the company, is a rebranded e5 Plus. Plus and Supra means much more with this model Android Smartphone than one or two features that are better than normal.


Motorola e5 Supra Android Smartphone Unboxing

Disclosure: The e5 Supra and Cricket Wireless service were on loan at no cost. I have not been compensated for this review. All thoughts and opinions are my own. Photos are courtesy of Cricket and Motorola.

The biggest and most exciting feature of the e5 Supra is its industry leading 5,000 mAh internal battery. Some reviews on the Cricket Wireless website mention that users can get up to three days of use without having to recharge. Worried that a ginormous battery will take a long time to recharge?

Moto e5 Supra Cricket Wireless Smartphone Front
Moto e5 Supra Cricket Wireless Smartphone Front

Powering up the Motorola smartphone is greatly assisted by Qualcomm’s SnapDragon CPU, special charging algorithm, along with a proprietary technology called TurboPower. This smartphone can charge with a 15W wall adapter and a microUSB cable. Motorola figured that the people buying this type of phone would have more microUSB cables and compatible chargers than the now standard USB-C connector. The majority of smartphones, including some iPhone models, can not charge this quickly.

Overview

Motorola’s e5 Supra comes with a nearly stock Android Oreo 8.0 system and Google’s security patch from July 1st 2018. The company mentioned during the release of this phone that it would not receive any further Android system updates. And it would only receive a year of approved security updates.

During testing, it did receive one Google security patch for July 1st. The system update situation is the biggest con for this otherwise well featured smartphone. To only provide one year of security updates and no further system updates for a $179 device does not make sense.

What’s In The Box:
- Motorola e5 Supra Smartphone
- Nano SIM Card
- 5000 mAh (non-removable) Battery
- Wall Charger / microUSB Data Cable
- Quick Start Guide

Apple typically provides several years of system and security updates. Their iPhone SE costs about the same and it recently received iOS 12 with security and feature updates. I do hope Motorola reconsiders this shortened update schedule for their next devices.

Its right edge is where all of the buttons are located. The volume rocker is above the power button. Those with a pair of 3.5mm wired headphones are in luck, the headphone jack is on the top right. The microUSB charging port for the e5 Supra is at the bottom middle.

Beyond the limiting software and security updates, its hardware and features go beyond what Android smartphones at this price point usually provide. Almost everything that Motorola builds into their more premium models, is included with this budget version.

Moto e5 Supra Cricket Wireless Smartphone Split Screen
Moto e5 Supra Cricket Wireless Smartphone Split Screen

This includes Moto Actions: Quick Screenshot, Chop Twice for Flashlight, Twist for Quick Capture, Swipe to Shrink Screen, Pick up to stop ringing, and Flip for Do Not Disturb. Another set of software features from Motorola are called Moto Display. This includes Night Display, Attentive Display, and Moto Display.

For the Moto Actions, Quick Screenshot allows you to touch and hold on the screen with three fingertips to capture what’s on the screen. To turn the Flashlight on and off, move the phone in a chopping motion twice. I have used this many times to quickly see in dark places. By moving the e5 Supra in a twisting motion, the camera app opens anytime. This is about as fast as Samsung’s double home button tap to open the camera. I use the above two features the most out of the six available.

The Moto Display has three options and the ones that I used the most during testing was Attentive Display, that keeps the screen on while you are looking at it, and Moto Display, which shows “friendly” notifications that fades in and out while the screen is off.

Motorola’s software features are intuitive in that it will suggest these individual options even if they are not enabled. It notices how you use the phone and will suggest to turn them on one at a time. It is almost as if it had machine learning to help you more over time.

Its squircle (curved) corners, no top notch, and edge-to-edge HD+ display is pleasing to look and is better than the iPhone 6S Plus square edged screen. I enjoyed its color saturation, contrast and brightness when using it outside in the direct sunlight of Las Vegas, and when inside of various airports from Salt Lake City, Utah to Sacramento, California. Streaming videos and watching shows with this phone was more impressive than with an iPhone 6S Plus.

The main reason for this was the e5 Supra’s forward facing speakers. Cricket Wireless says this smartphone has, “crystal-clear sound.” I mostly kept the volume on less than half as the audio produced at that level was the proper amount. Turned all of the way up, I could hear audio produced from the e5 Supra across the living room and into the kitchen.

Streaming YouTube videos, Twitch channels and live broadcasts worked well in nearly all of the cities I tried them in. The only city that I tested in, which had low Cricket Wireless signal (one bar) was near Sacramento, California. To be fair, T-Mobile and Verizon signal in this same city was one or two bars. I had to use Wi-Fi at this location for streaming.

For the nearly two months of Cricket Wireless service that were available to test, in Western US cities, that included Las Vegas, Salt Lake City, Los Angeles, Anaheim and Sacramento, I noticed ok results for download speeds ranging from 8Mbps to 12Mbps.

However, the signal strength outside of Sacramento, in a smaller town of about 60k, produced an average speed result of 4Mbps. The hotspot function was disabled on the loan device. These speed tests were completed with Speedtest.net. Compared to postpaid service with AT&T and a (more premium smartphone link to ZTE Dual Screen), I noticed speeds of 125Mbps down and 45Mbps up in Las Vegas.

Under the glass, the e5 Supra comes with an octa-core Snapdragon 435 CPU running at 1.4GHz, 3 GB of RAM, and 32GB of storage. For less than $200, the value proposition for this phone is nice. Running Android 8 Oreo was pleasant and smooth, even when using Chrome to stream broadcasts over the Internet.

The pre-installed Cricket software on the e5 Supra saves the locations and Wi-Fi hotspot information to make it easier to connect to them in the future. The prepaid cellular company knows that its customers may choose smaller data plans to save money, so they maximize your use of Wi-Fi connections.

It continually scans for Bluetooth and Wi-Fi signals, even when the phone is in airplane mode. I found that the Bluetooth and Wi-Fi modes to have randomly turned on. I noticed that the e5 Supra would turn on the Wi-Fi while I was streaming via cellular and try to automatically connect to known approved hotspots. I found this helpful and not so great at the same time.

Moto e5 Supra Cricket Wireless Smartphone Back
Moto e5 Supra Cricket Wireless Smartphone Back

Around the back of this smartphone is its camera, flash and fingerprint sensor. Motorola used their dual-camera insert, however they only installed a single 12MP camera with a super bright single LED flash. The dual-camera insert with the single lens looks like the camera is winking at you.

There are many smartphones, including premium models costing twice as much, that do not have an auto HDR mode. The e5 Supra has auto HDR, auto mode and manual mode (focus slider, white balance, timer, ISO, and contrast) when snapping photos. Its video settings include full HD 1080p at 30fps, HD 720p 30fps, VGA 480p 30fps, and slow motion. Switching between photo and video modes is as easy as a swipe, like on an iPhone.

An 8MP forward facing selfie camera is complemented with a bright flash. While those using an iPhone to take selfies have to rely on a bright white screen for a flash of sorts. A real LED flash, like on the e5 Supra, is arguably better. The newly announced iPhone line only come with a 7MP selfie camera.

To store everything, there is 32GB of onboard memory. This may seem like a lot for an affordable smartphone, though the system takes up 6GB and pre-installed apps take up 2.5GB. Along with other files, there is about 23GB of usable space left. I like SanDisk’s A1 128GB micro SD card to record 1080p video and run apps, sometimes faster than what the memory on the phone can handle.

One of the best features of Android phones is that they usually come with a microSD card slot, like this Motorola model does. This makes it easy to expand storage to store files, photos and HD videos.

It comes with a water-repellent coating for drips and splashes, but it is not rated for dunks into water. This makes sense as there are a few large openings, from the charging port, headphone jack, microphones and speaker grill.

Motorola’s e5 Supra is an attractive Android Oreo smartphone from Cricket Wireless. The price is right and Cricket’s service works well enough. I used it to make calls about 100 feet away from a mid-1800s steam-engine train. I could easily hear the person I was talking to and they could hear me as well. This was possibly the harshest test for a call of any smartphone I have tried yet. Its ability to handle noise in this way was impressive.

The last Cricket compatible smartphone that I reviewed was the Alcatel PULSE Mix and while this Moto e5 Supra costs more, you get a solid smartphone with amazing battery life and impressive features.

Rating: 4/5

Pros:
- 6” HD+ Max Vision Screen
- 5,000 mAh Battery
- 12MP Camera with Flash and Laser Focus
- 3GB RAM
- 4G LTE Cricket Wireless
- SIM and MicroSD Combo Tray
- 1.4GHz Octa-core
- Water Repellent Coating
- TurboPower Charging

Cons:
- Non Removable Battery
- No 4K Video Recording Option
- No NFC or Qi Wireless Charging
- 1 Year of Security Patches
- No Android Oreo Updates
- Feels Heavier Than Other Large Smartphones

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